Illustration: Young Arab women
Illustration: Young Arab womenFlash 90

A new study reveals that Egypt has the worst women's rights record of all 22 Arab states, as hopes of modernization following the "Arab spring" have instead led to instability and a greater Islamic influence, under which sexual harassment has simply become the norm.

BBC notes that a UN report in April found that 99.3% of Egyptian women and girls had been sexually harassed.

"The social acceptability of everyday sexual harassment affects every woman in Egypt regardless of age," background, dress or other factors, said Noora Flinkman of the Egyptian campaign group HarassMap.

The abysmal state of affairs was revealed Tuesday in a study by the Thomson Routers Foundation.

336 gender experts were surveyed throughout the Arab world. They were asked questions to assess violence against women, reproductive rights, as well as the treatment and role of women.

Aside from sexual harassment, Egypt ranked worst as a result of its high rates of female genital mutilation, discriminatory laws and a spike in the trafficking of women.

Zahra Radwan of the US-based rights group Global Fund for Women remarked "there are whole villages on the outskirts of Cairo and elsewhere where the bulk of economic activity is based on trafficking in women."

Iraq was second worst according to the study, with results showing that women's rights are even worse there than they were under Saddam Hussein's regime.

Following Iraq were Saudi Arabia, Syria and Yemen, in that order. Saudi Arabia recently same under fire from Amnesty International over its poor human rights record.

Meanwhile the Comoros islands had the best women's rights in the Arab world.